This book is part of another series that has been recommended to me over and over again. Sarah J. Maas still makes me surprised by how interesting her writing is, and this book perfectly reflects that. The Assassins Blade includes five novellas – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld and finally, the Assassin and the Empire.
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord begins the story of Celaena Sardothien and her mysterious job as an assassin. Celaena and a fellow assassin named Sam are sent to Skull’s Bay in order to receive a shipment of slaves in which Celaena and Sam help to escape despite their master’s orders.
I think that the plotline in this novella was the perfect way to see who our main character really is and what she believes in. Celaena hated the fact that the slaves were treated that way and I really loved that even though they are assassins, they had the decency to free them even if it meant being punished themselves.
“She was fire, she was darkness, she was dust and blood and shadow.”
Celaena Sardothien is the main character in the novella and I think that even though she puts on a tough exterior image, inside she is a softer person which really showed during her time with slaves. I have to say, Celaena is kind of full of herself. She believes that she is the best assassin in all of Adarlan, which may be true, however, she basically uses it to fuel her massive ego. Despite all of this, she is an amazing main character and I loved following her through this novella.
Sam Cortland was also a character that was present in this novella and I really liked him. He seemed like the sweeter version of Celaena. It seems that Sam’s main goal is to protect Celaena even if it is going against their master’s plans for them.
The other character that we got to know thoroughly was the Pirate Lord. Rolfe was not exactly what I expected when Celaena was describing the pirate lord, but he turned out to be someone who just wanted money, money, money. Selling slaves is clearly something that is wrong, however, he wanted the money so he sold them. He was definitely a character I absolutely didn’t like at all.
This novella takes place mostly in Skull’s Bay, the home of the Pirate Lord. I mostly imagined it as a beach-like area since the pirates have ships that need to be near the sea. It is definitely not a place I would like to visit. It seemed dark and gloomy, and one of those places where rain clouds never go away.
The Assassin and the Healer
This novella followed Celaena as she was on her journey to the Red Desert as punishment for freeing the slaves. Celaena had stopped at a tavern where she was staying for two or three nights, however, this novella took place on the last night. Celaena encounters some men who are attacking a woman who works at the tavern, and it turns out that the woman is a healer who is saving up to go and learn the art of healing. The strange encounter leads to Celaena teaching the woman how to defend herself from men like the attackers, and Celaena gives her a large sum of money to make her way to the sacred land in which healers learn.
Celaena grows into a person who I actually really like in this novella. I think that she has learned that not everything is about her and it really shows with the way she gives away her money and an expensive brooch.
The woman who Celaena saved was also a person who I enjoyed reading about. Her point of view gives us information about magic being banished from the continent and how her mother suffered to save her which I think is really important to the world Sarah J. Maas has built.
This novella takes place in a tavern named the White Pig Inn. It seems like a dusty old place from the way Celaena describes it and even the woman who works there hates it. It’s not a place I’d like to see anytime soon.
The Assassin and the Desert
After traveling through the continent, Celaena finally arrives at the Red Desert to train under the eye of the Mute Master. Celaena’s goal is to receive a letter of recommendation from the Mute Master himself to say that Celaena has been trained well, however, that becomes very hard since the Mute Master will not train her until she is worthy.
In the meantime, she trains with her roommate, Ansel, who has a long history of why she is a Silent Assassin. Ansel and Celaena become friends, and the Mute Master finally decides to train her.
Celaena follows various animals from the desert in her training to see how they move, how they behave, how they attack. She learns techniques from the animals of the desert and gains new skills to become a better assassin.
Celaena eventually nears the time to go home, but she is drugged and ends up in the desert saying she is free five days early. She travels back to the Silent Assassins fortress only to find Ansel, someone she called a friend, beheading the Mute Master himself. Celaena defeats Ansel and saves the Mute Master, earning her the letter of recommendation, and a betrayal from someone she believed a friend.
Celaena realizes in this novella a lot about herself. She understands what she has done in terms of the deal with the Pirate Lord, and how this is a punishment, but she also understands that the keep of the Silent Assassins is a place that is way different than the one back in Rifthold. This novella really made me love Celaena’s character.
Ansel is a character I was not expecting. At first, she seemed like an ordinary assassin, just like Celaena herself, but Ansel’s long back story made me really admire her strength and courage to take back what is rightfully hers. The way she went about taking it back though, was something I didn’t see coming which I really really liked from the novella.
This novella takes place in the Red Desert, at the Silent Assassin’s fortress. It seems more like a palace than a fortress in my opinion and unlike the settings of the other novellas, it definitely is a place I’d love to see one day.
The Assassin and the Underworld
After returning to Rifthold from the Red Desert, still reeling about the betrayal of Ansel, Celaena has to decide who to trust. Celaena sees Sam after three long months away from home and after deciding to work with him, she realizes it might be more difficult that it seems due to her developing feelings towards him.
Celaena has now become her own person, away from the assassins guild. In this novella, she grows significantly as a character and realizes that not everything is about the guild and how strong she is as an assassin, but the people she has saved by doing these jobs.
Sam is another character that we find more about in this novella. He is probably my favorite character. As an assassin he has to be ruthless and cold, however, as a person, he is kind and wants the best for Celaena and the slaves that he is trying to save.
We also learn a lot about the King of Assassins. Arobynn is not really what I had expected when Celaena was describing him. He is a younger man, and stronger and definitely colder than I imagined. Also, the fact that he betrayed Celaena which pushed her to move out just made me hate him as a character even more. He just seemed like someone who was in the way of Celaena’s life, despite saving her as a child and taking her in.
This novella takes place in Rifthold, the city that Celaena had grown up in. I actually really like this setting. It definitely seems like a place I’d like to see through all of the boutiques and
The Assassin and the Empire
After buying their freedom from Arrobyn Hamel and the assassins, Celaena and Sam realize that they are going to have to do a lot more to buy their way out of the guild. In doing so, they receive a contract in which they are ordered to assassinate two powerful men.
Eventually, Celaena realizes that she needs revenge for what was supposed to be two easy assassinations, and she gets caught in the process. Celaena is sent to a lifetimes imprisonment as a salt-miner in Endovier.
In this novella, we learn a lot more about Celaena and Sam. We discover that Celaena has a backstory from before the assassins guild that we have not yet found out, and it seems that the secrets keep piling up. Sam is also a character that we have gotten to know over the past few novellas and it is nice to see him in an environment that is not controlling his every move. We really get to see who he is as a person and what he wants in his life, which seems to be moving away from Adarlan with Celaena at his side.
Arrobyn Hamel also turns into a very possessive character in this novella. We learn that he wishes Celaena to be all his and not to be shared with Sam or anybody else. I think that since Arrobyn had spent so long grooming Celaena to become his heir, he feels strongly about her and who she spends her time with, however, the way everything was handled was really extreme and it was clear that Arrobyn’s possessiveness was not only because she was his heir.
This final novella took place in Rifthold, mostly Sam and Celaena’s apartment and the Assassin’s guild.
Sam and Celaena’s apartment felt like a place to escape the claws of Arrobyn Hamel and the guild and at times I really enjoyed Celaena’s presence in the peacefulness there. It was really nice to see Celaena and Sam as a couple, instead of deadly assassins all the time.
As usual, Sarah J. Maas made it really easy to imagine everything going on and I absolutely loved the writing in these novellas. I think it was really well-written.
I can definitely see why this series is so hyped up. It is absolutely a series I think every YA fantasy reader should read. The writing is amazing, the character developments are incredible, the settings are so imaginable. Everything about this book was amazing and I definitely recommend it.